Rituals, sweets and mass weddings mark Jayalalitha’s birthday

February 24th, 2008 - 8:06 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi

Chennai, Feb 24 (IANS) Special worships were held in over 100 temples, free food was served to the poor, mass marriages were conducted and AIADMK cadre distributed sweets in Tamil Nadu to mark the 60th birthday of J. Jayalalitha Sunday. People queued up at the AIADMK chief’s residence in Poes Garden here to greet her. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders L.K. Advani, Narendra Modi and Ravishankar Prasad called her to wish Jayalalitha, strengthening rumours of an imminent alliance between the two parties for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

Jayalalitha, however, appeared in a sombre mood, participating in a mass wedding of 60 couples and telling her party to keep the “national goal” in mind.

Speaking at the St Georges’ Anglo-Indian School, the venue of the mass marriage, Jayalalitha said the AIADMK was like “an evergreen tree that could withstand the vagaries of nature”.

“No hunter can aim at this great tree and no arrow, however poisonous, can maim it,” she said.

“You affectionately call me Amma as I have taken up the responsibility of protecting this organisation after the great MGR (M.G. Ramachandran, party founder and her mentor),” she noted.

“I have the duty of shaping the future just as a mother who is responsible for taking care of a child,” she said to a thunderous applause.

“Our (party’s) aim is propelled by truthfulness, fortitude and determination. This will guide the whole country,” Jayalalitha said, reiterating that one day the AIADMK would be a national party.

The party will soon return to power in Tamil Nadu also, she asserted.

Deities in many temples were bathed in milk brought by AIADMK followers and chariot processions were taken out on the occasion in many towns across the state.

Temples, churches and mosques in several places like Nagercoil, Madurai and Chennai organised ‘annadanam’ or free meals for people, while cows were donated by party supporters in many places.

Sweets were distributed at party offices and even at many street corners.

Besides, wheelchairs were distributed at hospitals, school students got cycles and books, and a 60-kg cake was cut and distributed at a school here.

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